With last-minute tests, APs, and finals coming up, many students are losing their drive for their extracurricular activities. However, this is not so for the students going to Speech and Debate Nationals!
AB’s Speech and Debate team participates in many competitions, in which students contend in a variety of events including Impromptu, Public Forum Debate, and Student Congress.
Katie Larkin and Matt Kokkinos will be going to the National Forensic League in Indianapolis, while Jacob Senghas, Jacob Johnson, and Amartya Charkraborty will be off to the National Catholic Forensic League in Baltimore. They will all compete against top students from each state in the prestigious event called Student Congress.
What is this event, exactly? Students emulate the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate as they debate original pieces of legislation, presenting their own viewpoints and effectively arguing against their opponents in front of a mock congress.
To prepare, the students research a large packet of bills on numerous subjects and thoroughly analyze the given issue at hand. Finally, they write their speeches and get ready to argue their opinion. Each chamber of “Congress” must create an agenda at the start of the event to schedule the times to hold their preliminary, semifinal, and final sessions.
Because of schedule conflicts (National Catholic Forensic League: May 25-27, National Forensic League: June 10-15), the students attending nationals will be taking finals a week earlier than the rest of the AB student body. In addition to the massive amounts of preparation necessary for the events, they will have to study for exams as well.
Sophomore Katie Larkin admits, “I’m going to be taking all of my finals early, which means I’m out of school before the competition…I also don’t get review time during class and have to study on top of researching legislation.”
If Speech and Debate entails this much work, then why should people join? Never fear – junior Matt Kokkinos assures us that there are many reasons to participate. When asked why he likes the club, he replies, “I enjoy S&D because I meet a ton of kids from other schools, and I seriously enjoy debating politics.”
To add to the list of incentives, senior Jacob Senghas muses, “It’s all skill and effort. When you win, you know that you worked harder than everyone else, and you practiced more than everyone else. It’s one of the best feelings ever, no doubt.”
Public speaking, researching, general knowledge, and forming arguments are all skills valued here at AB.
Speech and Debate is a great way to get practice and improve in all of those areas. With the wide range of events, there is a niche for everybody. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that S&D looks great on college applications and resumes!
Even with the many benefits of joining Speech and Debate, there’s no denying that it takes a lot of work to get to nationals. However, Larkin asserts that it is all worth it: “The chambers are going to be filled with a lot of strong competitors, and I can’t wait to see what new speaking styles or outlooks they’ll bring to the competition. I’m also excited to be traveling to Indianapolis to compete and see the sights.”
It will, without a doubt, be an experience to remember for all those that have made it. Good luck and congratulations to AB’s Speech and Debate team!